30 November 2009

1776 Census of Maryland

My new book came today from Amazon.

 Carothers, Bettie Stirling. 1776 Census of Maryland. Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 2005.

COG: Lee Rutter - How Do You Connect?

 Carnival of Genealogy, 85th ed.: Orphans and Orphans

The first time I encountered Lee was Dora Emily Rutter-McCall's obituary: "Survivng are three daughters and one son: Mrs. Rose Thomas, Seaside, Ore.; Mrs. Nina Evans, LosGatos, Calif.; Mrs. Maude Linner, Minneapolis; and Lee McCall, White, S.D."[1]  I've never heard mention of my great-grandmother (Maude) having a brother. I have numerous pictures and stories of her with her sisters. I had not run across a Lee McCall in any of my research either. I chalked him up to a newspaper misprint.

The next time I ran into Lee was in two photographs my aunt sent me. The first was "Uncle Lee," Maude McCall-Linner (great-grandmother), my aunt, Bertram Linner (great-grandfather), and Dolores Linner-Mattson (grandmother) in front of a car. The second was Bertram, Maude, and "Uncle Lee." They were taken at the same time (the three in the second picture are wearing the same clothing in the first picture), crit. 1948. Perhaps Lee was an honorary or adopted member of the family?

I went through my research and found that I did have a record of Lee: The 1905 Minnesota state census for Maude's uncle and Dora's brother, Adelbert, had a "Lee Rutter" listed immediately after his family.[2]  The census is not broken up by family, nor does it list relationships. However, it does list place of birth for the person and his/her parents. Lee Rutter is listed as having been born in Iowa, father born in Rhode Island, and mother in Pennsylvania, the same as Adelbert "Dell" Rutter. Lee's age is listed as 26 years, making his date of birth about 1879. Dora and Adelbert's parents, Alonzo John and Mary (Finch) Rutter, have a well documented lineage, and I have never run across mention of a son named Lee. No one by that name, nor that approximate date of birth appear in any of the family records (censuses, AJ's pension file, other family member's obituaries, other researcher's trees).

I was able to find Lee Rutter's World War One draft registration card which lists his date of birth as 28 December 1879.[3]   He states that his nearest relative is Dora McCall.&

Lee Rutter died 30 May 1955 in Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota. I ordered a copy of his death certificate.[4]  His parents are listed as Richard and Dora E. Rutter. The informant is Mrs. B.G. Linner (Maude McCall-Linner). His birth is given as 28 December 1878 in Little Rock, Iowa.

Conclusion: AJ and Mary had children born in 1878 and 1880, making it unlikely that Lee is their child. The family had a farm in Elgin Township, Lyon County, Iowa in 1878/9. Little Rock would have been the closest post office upon its creation in 1884 (however, the family had already moved by then). His birth was not recorded in Lyon County, however, none of the Rutter children births were. Dora would have been 17 or 18 years old when Lee was born. All of the evidence points to her as his mother.
The earliest record I can find of Lee is his enlistment in the army on 2 July 1898.[5]  This past June I was visiting my aunt (the same one who had given me the photographs) and was presented with Lee's original discharge, a thank you leaflet from the city of Augusta, Georgia, and a tube containing his pass while in that city. He spent his entire enlistment (2 July 1898 - 27 March 1899) state-side.

I do not know who raised Lee or where. His mother was probably an unmarried Dora Emily Rutter. I know that as of 1905 his mother's family acknowledged him. On 19 November 1920 Lee married a widow named Gertrude A. Taylor-Hardy.[6]  They ran a cafe in White, South Dakota for many years. Gertrude died 2 November 1934.[7]

Uncle Lee continues to be a brick wall. I'm hoping that his military and pension files will shed light onto his early years. He has been a solitary figure on my tree for quite a while and I would very much like to give Lee his place among the branches.

[1] "Death of a Former Pipestone Woman: Mrs. Phil McCall, Sister of Mrs. J.D. Wilson, Dies in Minneapolis Sunday," Pipestone County (Minnesota) Star, 3 April 1936, p. 1; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
[2] 1905 Minnesota state census, Rock County, Luverne north ward, population schedule, p. 56, p. 23 (penned upper left corner), p. 38 (penned), lines 45-51, Rutter surname; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 25 May 2007); citing Minnesota Historical Society reels 1-47 and 107-164, MNSC_152.
[3] "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," digital image, Ancestry.com (http:/www.ancestry.com : downloaded 2007), Lee Rutter, serial no. 1739, order no. 1549, Redwood Falls, Redwood County, Minnesota; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; FHL microfilm 1675777.
[4] South Dakota, Department of Health, death certificate 285257 (6 June 1955), Lee Rutter (informational copy); Central Location, Pierre.
[5] Franklin F. Holbrook, Minnesota in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota War Records Commission, 1923), 401; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 2008).
[6] "South Dakota Marriages, 1905-1949," digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : downloaded 13 May 2007), Lee Rutter and Gertrude A. Hardy, 19 Nov 1920, Codington County; South Dakota Department of Health. South Dakota Marriage Index, 1905-1914 and South Dakota Marriage Certificates, 1905-1949. Pierre, SD, USA: South Dakota Department of Health.
[7] Minnesota Historical Society. "Death Certificates Index," database (http://people.mnhs.org/dci/ : accessed 27 May 2009), entry for Gertrude A. Rutter; citing death certificate no. 1934-MN-012981, Redwood County.

Thoughts On Certification

I have mentioned before that I am seeking my profession genealogy certification. I am going to do this through the Board of Certified Genealogist, although it is not the only avenue. My goal is to have my portfolio completed by the NGS convention in April. No, I have no started the application process yet. This entails sending in the application and fee. Then I will have a year to send in my portfolio. My torture resume is up to date. There are several things I could pull from my files for the transcribe/abstract part. I actually have a client lined up for after New Years, so I will use that client report. I've decided on the topic for my case study. I was wavering between Lee Rutter and Annie Linner. Both would also work as my kinship study.
  • Lee Rutter is one of those orphans on the family tree. I know "Uncle Lee" connected somewhere. I'm almost positive now that he is the illegitimate son of my gr-gr-grandmother, Dora Rutter-McCall.
  • Annie is my gr-gr-grandmother. She m. (1) Joel Linner, my gr-gr-grandfather. I would cover my search for her maiden name and parentage, which I discovered by tracing her siblings.
I've decided to use my hunt for Annie's family as my case study; there is a finite ending. While I'm almost positive on who Lee Rutter's mother is, I have not found that definite proof yet and I will probably never discover who his father is. There is also a lot of things on my to-do list for Lee that might shed more light on to his parentage. Actually, stay tuned, I'm thinking about discussing Lee as my Carnival of Genealogy submission.

While writing this post I realized that I should explain something. You might have noticed that I hyperlink all of the names in my blog. The link is to their family group sheet on my website. If you're interested, you can click on the link and learn more about that person and their family.

You'll notice that my website is not up to date. I will be completely rebuilding it after my database update is done.

27 November 2009

The Genealogical Proof Standard, part 1

In a group of genealogist, how many can list all of the steps of the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS)?
  • A reasonably exhaustive search;
  • complete and accurate source citations;
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.
The GPS is not just for professional genealogist. Everyone should be following these steps. But the problem arises when people don’t know how to. This past Sunday I presented a lecture at the RootsMagic user group at the Southern California Genealogical Society on sources and citations. I covered steps 2 and 3 on the GPS. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was getting everyone to understand the difference between a source and a citation. I was dumbfounded that researchers don’t understand this basic difference. From my lecture:
  • Source - the information; e.g. death certificate, Bible, homestead file, census, book, necklace, website, interview, etc.
  • Citation - the record of the source; what and where
Are these definitions confusing? Why aren't beginners being taught basic definitions? If someone does not understand what a citation is, then they cannot write one. I have not taken a beginners class in a while, but perhaps the GPS should be covered and stress?

What about those who are not beginners; are you following the GPS? Do you follow some of them? Are certain ones more important than others?

I'm issuing another challenge. The next time you spend any time doing research, keep track of exactly what you are doing. How many steps of the GPS do you usually follow?

As a beginner I had never heard of the Genealogical Proof Standard. As I am going back through all of my research (see this post) I am finding that I have a lot of information that I didn't know I had. For example: I was messaging a cousin of a cousin on Ancestry.com. She listed the information she had for William Eugene Rutter (a sibling of my gr-gr-grandmother, Dora Rutter-McCall). On the 1910 census his occupation is "farmer, homestead." I've transcribed this census multiple times, but it never clicked until she had written it out. The BLM database has a William E. Rutter listed in the same county as the census. If I had followed all of the steps of the GPS I would have discovered this information years ago when I first found the census.

So the Genealogical Proof Standard is for everyone all the time. Get the word out: use it!

22 November 2009

Black Sheep Sunday

My great-grandparents were disowned by their some of their family.

On 2 April 1917 Luciano "Louis" Spedale and Nicholetta "Clara" Geraci applied for a marriage license:

"Rose Spidale" is Clara's mother... and Luciano's sister.

Louis and Clara had three sons and a daughter, none of whom had any inherent health problems.

Paper Ahnentafel

When was the last time you wrote out an Ahnentafel? We have computer programs and databases that will do this for us. Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings puts out a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Yesterdays prompt: Who is your MRUA - your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name. I decided to write about my gr-gr-grandfather, Philip McCall. I needed his Ahnentafel number, so I quickly jotted one out. Looking at it I realized that I had two Unknown Ancestors with lower numbers (but same generation) than Philip.

My challenge is for you to sit down and write out your Ahnentafel. How many generations back can you go from memory? What is your highest number that you have research for?

I went back 8 generations. From memory I was able to trace one line all eight generation and another seven. I can trace the first back further, but it's kind of cheating; the next three generations of men are all named John Nichols. The highest number I can trace is (that I have research for) is 16008 Robert Tucker, he is generation 14 and my earliest immigrant to America.

21 November 2009

Come and Learn - Sources, Citations, and RootsMagic

Sunday, November 22nd, the RootsMagic user group at the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) will be meeting from 2-4 pm at the SCGS library in Burbank. The user group usually meets the third Sunday of the month.

I will be the speaker at this meeting. The focus will be on sources and citations. I will cover: Why cite? How do you cite your sources? How do you analysis your sources? For the second part of the meeting we will break into two groups. One for beginners and one for more advanced users. I will lead the second group through how to use the source wizard in RootsMagic4. We will focus on figuring out which source template to use and how to write templates. Bring your questions.

I invite anyone who uses RootsMagic, is interested in the program, and/or interested in the lecture topic to join us at the meeting.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with RootsMagic beyond using their program. I am a member of the Southern California Genealogical Society.

18 November 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Two pictures 65 years apart


17 November 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Hopkinton Cemetery

Hopkinton Cemetery, South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa

[unknown image-possibly a lamb]
Feb. 20, 1873
2 yrs. & 2dys.

APR. 21, 1891
88Ys. 5Ms.
25 DAYS.
Gone but not forgotten

E.S. & J.A.
M. & E.

Son of
H.E. & M.E.
Aug. 25, 1873
11 months.

Hopkinton Cemetery (section 18, South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa; east of town on 3rd St NE (Hwy 38)), 3 stones: Arthur Fay Rutter, Emerson Rutter & others, Stephen H. Rutter; photograph by author, 7 June 2009.

16 November 2009

Madness/Methodology Monday - Lost Burials

In June I visited Riverview Cemetery, which is owned and operated by the city of Rock Rapids in Lyon County, Iowa. I know Alonzo John (hereafter A.J.) and Mary Rutter are buried there because their names are on online indexes of the cemetery. Both of their obituaries also state that they were buried in this cemetery. I know that daughter Nina Rutter is buried there because of her second obituary.[1] I know from all three obituaries that daughters Julia and Elma are buried there (Nina's obituary states that she "will be laid along side of a brother [misprint, should be sister] and sister in the family burial place."[2] A.J.'s obituary states that his "remains were taken to Rock Rapids, Iowa, for internment, where rests the remains of three children."[3] Mary's obituary says that her remains were taken "for interment in the cemetery where the husband and three daughters of the deceased are buried."[4] So there should be five people in the family plot: A.J., Mary, Nina, Julia, and Elma. The city is surprised to hear this. It seems that record keeping was done poorly when the cemetery first started. The first entry for the family plot reads: "C all 11, A.J. Rutter. Rock R., June 2" 1884. $5 cash."[5] There are several issues with this entry. A.J. Rutter did not live in Rock Rapids in 1884. He had a homestead in Elgin township, Lyon County until July 1883 when the family moved to Pipestone, Minnesota (Rock Rapids would have been the post office when the family resided in the county). I do know that Nina was buried on or about May 30, 1884, per her second obituary. This entry is most likely the fee record for Nina’s burial. A.J. is buried in space 2 and Mary is in space 3. These are the only two burials that the cemetery knows of since they both have markers. I do not believe that the family was wrong about the two other daughters, Julia and Elma, being buried there, but where? The city has since re-sold the "empty" space in the plot, although no one has been buried there thus yet. They were going to look into it and let me know.

[1] "The remains of Nina Rutter...," burial notice, Pipestone County (Minnesota) Star, 30 May 1884, p. 3; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
[2] ibid
[3] "Death of A. J. Rutter," obituary, The Farmer's Leader (Pipestone, Minnesota), 22 September 1910, p. 1; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
[4] "Death of Mrs. A.J. Rutter: An Old And Esteemed Pipestone Lady Passed Away Quite Suddenly," Pipestone County (Minnesota) Star, 23 January 1912, p. 1; microfilm held by the Pipestone County Historical Society and Museum.
[5] Riverview Cemetery (Rock Rapids, Iowa), plat books, 2 June 1884, A. J. Rutter, C 11. This entry is most likely the burial fee for Nina E. Rutter.
[photo] Riverview Cemetery (Rock Rapids, Lyon County, Iowa; south end of S. Tama St.), Alonzo J. Rutter and Mary E. Rutter, section C, lot 11, spaces 2 & 3; photograph by author, 6 June 2009.

Smile for the Camera - The gift of a picture

Where to start my tale...

My grandparents divorced when my mother was 2 years old. Her father died when she was 10. She was never allowed to visit his family after that.

My grandfather is Leonardo Luciano Spedale. He was born 20 May 1920 in Cleveland, Ohio to Italian immigrants. On 3 December 1941 he joined the US Army.  However, on 12 June 1945 the ship he was serving on as a Merchant Marine docked in San Fransisco. I've never heard of someone changing branches of the military during war. I've contacted the Veterans Administration (VA) in hopes that they have a copy of his service record. He died in February 1966, so if they sent his records back to the National Personal Records Center, then his file was destroyed in the 1973 fire.

In January 2006 I found someone on Ancestry.com that had made a correction to the ship manifest for Leonardo's mother, Nicoletta Geraci. I sent him a message asking how he relates to this family. He is a descendant of Nicoletta's aunt, Lena. My mom and he started e-mailing back and forth. They discovered that they had met as children. After learning where we live, he told us of another cousin that lives in Southern California, the daughter of Nicoletta's Aunt "Jossie." My mom gave her a call, and it went something like this:

" Hi, is this [cousin]? This is [my mom]."
"Oh my god, we're been trying to find you for 30 years."

It gets better. Our cousin lives 5 miles away. Her daughter lives on the same street as my mom, one block down. We've all lived in these places for the last 20 years.

One of the first thing our cousin gave my mom was a stack of photographs of my grandfather as a young man. In that stack was a picture of him in his army uniform.

Smile for the Camera, 19th ed.

* I've tried not to use names of living people.

13 November 2009


I am posting the comments I have on have made on my website, www.shawgenealogy.org, here on my blog. They are back posted to the date I originally posted them on the website. Sorry if this confuses anyone. I am going to be changing the website around a bit and don't want to lose these. Feel free to read and comment on them.

12 November 2009


This is my first post as a blogger. I've sort of posted things on my website, www.shawgenealogy.org, in the past, but nothing regular.

So, about me... I am a high school history teacher, currently looking for work in that field. I consider myself first and foremost a historian. Since genealogy is a branch of history, the jump was natural. I'm looking into get my professional certification.

Currently I am still working on switching from RootsMagic3 to RootsMagic4. Sounds easy? I wish. Essentially I am going through person-by-person and making sure my sources are cited properly and that I don't have any information not sourced. When I first started my researched I created the classic mistake of name collecting from various family trees online without double checking the information or sourcing the trees. I know, I know... I feel the shame. I cannot move forward with my research until I truly know what I, in fact, do know.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with RootsMagic in any way. I simply own and use the program.